A Wine Lover’s View Of The Red Tempranillo And Zinfandel Grapes

Many experts think that the red Tempranillo grape originated in northern Spain. This grape can be found in northern and central Spain especially in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavea regions, in northern and southeast Portugal in the Alentejo and Douro regions, and in southern France in the Midi/Aude region. It is an important variety in Argentina, and is also planted in California and Australia.

Tempranillo grapes provide a deeply colored, dry, long-lived wine with moderate levels of acid and alcohol. Because its taste is relatively neutral it is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Merlot, and lesser known varieties. In Portugal, it is often transformed into Port wines.

Tempranillo may accompany Olives, Beef Wellington, Spare Ribs (especially Barbecued Pork Spareribs), Roast Lamb, Spanish Sausage, and Spanish Ham. Port may accompany a very wide range of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts, depending on its sweetness and production process, much more than on the grape variety or varieties used.

Over the years I have reviewed many Tempranillo wines. They came from Spain, Argentina, and Portugal. Included in the mix were at least one rose and at least one Kosher wine.

The red Zinfandel grape may well have originated in Croatia. It entered the eastern US in or around 1820 and from there moved on to California by 1859. Zinfandel is the second most planted red grape in California behind Cabernet Sauvignon. This grape It is also grown in southern Italy, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Zinfandel juice often has high levels of alcohol and sugar. The quality and taste of the wine produced varies considerably according to the microclimate, and the winemaker’s art. While these grapes are red, they can be transformed into a light pink or even white wine called White Zinfandel.

You should try a red Zinfandel with Muenster Cheese, Curried Chicken or Fish, Moussaka, Pizza, or Barbecued Steak. These wines are food friendly and some say you can’t go wrong bringing a red Zin to a barbecue. If you want my advice, do not drink white Zinfandel, either with food or on its own.

Over the years I have reviewed several Zinfandels. They came from California and Italy, where the variety is known as Primitivo. To be fair, expert opinions vary on the relationship between Zinfandel and Primitivo. Despite, or perhaps because of my warnings, I reviewed a couple of white Zinfandels. Some were Kosher.

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